Don’t Laugh

The projects for our showcases are finished and have been published on the Scratch site and I’m compiling them onto our school Code Club page in preparation for our final meetings this week when the parents come to see what we have been up to.

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-7-40-19-pm

Chatbot and Pong game in one project

There are some pretty impressive projects.  And the students’ hard work is evident.  Maze games, Chatbots, Races, Survivor games, Pong types:

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-7-36-30-pm

Space Pong – hit the portal that matches the ball color.

Then there’s The Epic Game where there are 4 games in one project.  The two girls working on this one came in at recess to work on it and were really motivated to meet their goal of finishing it.

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-7-44-31-pm

The Epic Game – it took epic effort.

They learned a lot about game flow, how to use broadcast effectively and how making one seemly insignificant change can break everything. And about testing, testing, testing. I thought I would need to show them Rik Cross’s Cheat Codes, but their chatbot like game flow let us quickly get to the game that was having issues.

I’m really proud of all of these projects and coders, even the two, possibly three, Try Not To Laugh projects.  Yes, it seems we have a dancing llama infection.  The first TNTL project was a dancing llama project from Showcase #2 called Super Awesome Llama Man. I wasn’t that impressed with the project makers plan or effort, but it fit his personality and every single 4th grader who sees it seems to think it is hilarious in it’s absurdity. This year the llama man Sprite is back in a couple of Try Not to Laugh projects.  Also is a walking taco and troll face.

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-8-17-40-pm

Llama is back – TNTL

I okayed one TNTL project but when two students project derailed because they couldn’t agree on how to proceed with their joint project, I okayed their change to a TNTL project.

 

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-7-34-03-pm

So many llamas

I tried to find funny gifs other than the llama, but they all love the llama.  Really, it’s not funny anymore.

 

Dress Up for Showcase #5

Tomorrow is our fifth Code Club Showcase.  We have eleven projects to present.  They are solid projects.

Over the last two weeks I wasn’t sure if we were going to be ready, but here we are.  I’m actually impressed with the variety and the effort.  Many students choose to work with a partner and those partnerships worked well.  I would have liked to have seen more coding effort and algorithmic thinking but everyone seemed to have fun each week working on their projects.

New this time are projects like dress up. I haven’t seen a dress up project before in Code Club, but I think these two turned out well.  The idea is simple.  Pick the clothes for the Sprite and then decide on the Stage.

Most of the time was spent designing clothes, which has got to be the most fun in the mind of these two girls.  Each of the clothing Sprites have the same code behind them.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 9.54.26 PM

The code sets the initial conditions and then makes a decision not to disappear if the Sprite (named Kate) is wearing the piece of clothing.

I can see improvements to the scripting to allow the Sprite to move in the chosen outfit. As well as other ideas that turns the Dress Up project into more of a Virtual Pet project.

We did a Virtual Pet project one week this session and one student decided to make a full blown virtual pet project for her individual project.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 9.40.02 PM

It is really cute and well coded.  I find the directions she gives quite funny.

 

Amazing and Goofy

“Amazing and goofy at the same time (just like 4th graders)” is how I am going to be describing the Code Club Showcase of projects this time around.

The first showcase was this afternoon. I think the students were really nervous about the parents coming and worried about the logistics of the showcase but they filled out their presentation sheets and then had the chance to test out everyone’s projects before parents arrived. When the parents started arriving the students had to forego the computers for our guests and become hosts and hostesses.  They showed their family where to sit and helped them navigate to the projects. They were flexible about the presentation order as we decided to start before some parents to showed up and we switched a few around so that the parents would get to see their students presentation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I remembered my camera but had to ask a parent to take pictures for me.  He did a nice job.

I thought the presentations went really well.  At the last minute I thought to have them ask a buddy to play the game while they were presenting and that worked out nicely.  Pair presenters decided ahead of time who would say what.

Of course the parents loved the amazing and goofy projects. They seemed to follow along well – laughing and clapping when appropriate.

Tomorrow’s projects are just as amazing and goofy. We have two more Angry Bird type games – one involving flying toilet paper and the other a flying marshmallow.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 7.06.18 PM

A good number of projects have strong, continual dance party music soundtrack going in the background.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 10.17.59 PM

Some have some pretty awesome custom Sprites or backgrounds.Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 6.29.10 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 5.45.27 PM

And then there are the llamas.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 6.12.58 PM

A number of projects could have used more time to implement more of the things they had in mind. But, it is what it is.  I’ve been saying that a lot this last week. That is the lesson of the deadline. We tried to plan well, but even so, unforeseen things happen. With programming, things always seem to take longer than you think.

Tomorrow is the showcase and all these amazing and goofy projects will be presented to parents. I’m very proud of all these students. And I’ll think I’ll end there. It is what it is.

 

Inspired By

Next week is the showcase for both Code Clubs.  That means this week all the individual Scratch projects the students have been working on since November have to be finished. Going into today’s Code Club session I was concerned.  I knew of a few projects that were in need of major help.

I started out letting them know that their projects would need to be uploaded to the Scratch website by the end of the Code Club.   We talked about how the showcase would go next week – how they would be presenting their projects and the parents would get a chance to try them out. I put two sign-up lists on the board – one for help, one for finished. Then we had at it.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.37.41 PM

Fruit Collector

I am really lucky to have a great high school volunteer and he has been bringing his girlfriend to help as well.  While Josh handled the help list, I helped with the upload and sent the students to Raven who helped them fill out the project and credits page.

By the end of Code Club we had eleven projects uploaded, although not shared yet.  Two more need a little more tweaking.  Three students were absent.  Luckily, I can give them some recess time in the lab tomorrow or Friday.

Tomorrow’s Code Club projects will all have to be done.  No exceptions because I don’t see those students during the week. My daughter is coming with me tomorrow to help with the project instructions and credit page.

That’s the nuts and bolts of Code Club for today and tomorrow.  What has me sitting here writing up this blog right now is my excitement for these projects. The creativity and hard work displayed in these projects is quite impressive.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.54.12 PM

Save Wizard Boy

Save Wizard Boy is a favorite Code Club maze game with green dots for points and a continual hip-hop beat as background music.  The creators had the most difficulty working as a team and agreeing on what they wanted in the game. This is written in their notes: “Making this game was fun. I made it in Code Club with my friend. Making games on computers is fun and if you like to play games on computers you can go to Scratch.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.11.16 PM

Mipio1

Mipio1 is another favorite platform 2-d world with gravity.  Quite challenging for most of the students who attempted this type of game.  I love the creativity and hand drawn city-scape. The 4th grader writes in her notes “What inspired me to introduce Mipio1 is the game called Mario and I love the game Mario. The game is sort of similar to that game.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 8.04.14 PM

Patriots

There were a number of sport type games – one called Wizard Soccer and two about football. In the Patriots each standard Scratch football player Sprite was customized.

Each project seems to be the best that student or team could produce.  I truly didn’t think they’d be this impressive.

Showcase #2

Last week in Code Club we held a showcase of our projects for the parents. It went rather smoothly and I actually was able to enjoy it. Quite a change from the first showcase at the end of the first term! I felt prepared and felt the students were, too. Plenty of factors contributed to the improvements from round one.

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 10.08.59 PM

Maze Game

This time a majority of the 17 projects were ready to go by the end of the Code Club meeting prior to the showcase. Most projects were turned in so I could upload them to the online Scratch Studio ahead of time. I credit a number of reasons why this happened. First, some of coders had been through the process before, which helped. I think those students had a better idea of how big of a project could be accomplished and set better goals. Projects from Showcase #1 were good models for what could be done. With the help of two high school volunteers and self-designated expert code members, much progress was made in the time available.

I was more organized. I kept track of the projects and checked in with groups during the last weeks. I knew that the projects needed to be wrapped up a week before and was able to encourage most groups and individuals to keep to this timetable. I had a shared folder for students to save their projects to. I used time during the week to touch base with code members about their Scratch project page and to get the Code Club website ready for parents to navigate to.

Little Airport

Little Airport

I also helped troubleshoot some last minute bugs, found a lost project and let one student have some recess time because he had been absent.

The results of this effect meant that when the students got to Code Club on the day of the showcase they had 40 minutes before the parents arrived. We used this time for them to write their presentation -which they all did rather quickly. Then, once I had their presentation notes, they were free to test each other’s projects until the parents arrived.

Presentation outline

Presentation outline

Giving them time to play test each other’s projects before hand really helped the code club members enjoy the presentations they gave to the parents. I did error in the order of presentations and a new-to-Scratch student presented first. He was nervous, but he did fine. The students were not loud enough for the whole room to hear – but it was a very busy room.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was pleased with the turn out of parents. We filled the room and had to bring in extra chairs. The students were so proud of their work and I am so proud of them. It was a lot of work to get ready, but it was so much more enjoyable the day of.

Afterwards I took my two high school volunteers out to dinner to celebrate a job well done. I was grateful to have them help out each week. They both expressed how much they enjoyed helping out. I think they might be back next year.

I have plans to continue to my code club journal periodically until the next round of Code Club starts in the fall, but I may be just kidding myself.

End Script, Edit, Repeat

Well, Code Club Showcase #1 was a hit, I think.  The computer lab was completely packed with parents, grandparents, siblings…. Wow. Incredible turnout.  So much going on that I’m not really sure how it went.  I got an overall positive vibe in the midst of the chaos. I’m not sure anyone knew what to expect, myself included. I definitely will try a few things differently next time.

Animated story of Tenki Battle designed and created by a 4th grade Code Club member

Animated story of Tenki Battle designed and created by a 4th grade Code Club member

First, I must say I that I was impressed with each student. Not all the projects turned out as they had hoped.  Some didn’t present at the Showcase because they felt they didn’t finish. Some projects had technical difficulties.  The presentations were varied. Regardless, everyone worked hard and did their best to make something and show it off to their peers and parents.

Hero to the Rescue, an unfinished project.

Hero to the Rescue, an unfinished project.

I take responsibly for the chaos & technical difficulties. Those issues could have been minimized with some better planning. I need the students to finish their projects earlier so I have more time to get everything ready ( I thought I had, but they kept making changes to their projects.  I also need to give them time to prepare to present.  To me that means a re-engineering of the game design and review process. The deadline has to be defined and I need to be firm about it.  Every time I asked if a project was done, I invariably got, “not yet”.  Everyone was putting final touches on their projects up until the moment the parents arrived (or beyond). Then it was a scramble to make the project available to access while the creators were presenting it on the head computer.

Run for your Life game with code

Run for your Life game with code

I also need to remember that 4th graders should be given a chance to rehearse before speaking in front of a large crowd of parents and peers. I should’ve made a list of presenters, too. Then I would’ve known ahead of time that 2 groups didn’t want to present.

Showcase presentation

Showcase presentation

Finally, these projects need to be shared and enjoyed by the rest of the school.  Not that I need to drum up interest for Code Club, but it is quite remarkable what these students have accomplished in such a short time, and I think others in our school community should see and enjoy what they’ve done.  I’m very proud.

The Indespicable Giant Baby Head Game

The Indespicable Giant Baby Head Game

Even my high school student volunteer was impressed by some of the projects.  He especially liked and commented on The Indespicable Giant Baby Head Game makers’ unique way of coding for gravity.

Here’s the link to our Showcase studio on the Scratch website: Code Club Showcase #1

It’s Showtime

Tomorrow is our Code Club Showcase. I have invited the parents to come in and try out the games we have spent the last four weeks designing and building.  I think we just might pull it off.

Many of the projects came together last week, thank goodness.  By the end of Code Club, most were nearing completion and about four were deemed done.  Four others I’m still worried about.

One completed project

One completed project

As I discussed last week, I started a list for those who needed help on the whiteboard and between the three adults we were able to address a lot of student concerns. The hour was pretty productive.  Big sigh of relief.  Even those who were not finished did have some time during indoor recesses to work on their projects. There will even be time tomorrow at recess. Some still expect to get some final work done before the parents arrive. Yikes.  Makes me nervous.

Here’s an example of a project that is done. It’s been uploaded to the Scratch website.  It has instructions, notes & credits and even tags.  It just needs to be shared and it’s link added to the Code Club webpage.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 9.56.09 PM

It’s a pretty cool game.  The special sound effect is such a big deal that the author coded this to highlight it’s awesomeness:

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 9.52.16 PM

I had planned to let the Showcase happen in an open house type format, but my parent volunteer emailed me with the suggestion that the students present and tell about their projects.  This is an awesome idea and so I’ve put together this presentation form.

Showcase present notes

Showcase present notes

So now I plan on having the parents sit in front of the computers with the webpage up and the students up in front where their project will be projected on the screen. Each group will explain their work and what they are most proud of – like the sound effect.  Then parents can try it out and we’ll move on to the next presenters. It might take a bit more than 1/2 hour to get through all 14 groups, but it will be worth it.